The No. 5 seed West Virginia Mountaineers used stifling, high pressure defense to break down No. 4 seed Maryland, in the Midwest regional semifinals on March 22 in Columbus, Ohio. West Virginia advanced on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010, while Maryland exits in the round of 32.
West Virginia (25-9 overall record) gave Maryland problems with its signature full court press on defense. The Terps were forced into committing 22 turnovers, and went on scoring drought that lasted more than six minutes in the second half, ultimately giving control of the game.
Initially, Maryland didn’t appear to be fazed by West Virginia’s full-court press. Terps freshman guard Melo Trimble dashed by the press easily, finding his way to the basket often. Trimble made 5-of-6 shot attempts for a team-high 15 points with seven rebounds for Maryland. But no other Terp was able to get into a groove to help support Melo on the scoring attack.
Trimble would eventually injure his head during a fall late in the second half and was forced to sit out for the final seven minutes of action. With it’s best scorer and ball handler out, Maryland had no player capable of breaking West Virginia’s press, which led to more turnovers. Senior forward Dez Wells struggled offensively for Maryland, making just 3-of-8 shot attempts for nine points. Wells also committed nearly 10 turnovers. Junior forward Jake Layman was the only other player for Maryland to score double digits with 10 points.
Sophomore forward Devin Williams led a balanced offensive attack by the Mountaineers – Williams posted a double-double of 16 points with 10 rebounds, while three other WV players also scored double digits in points.
West Virginia will next face No. 1 seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on March 26.
In other Sunday action:
– No. 7 Michigan State defeated No. 2 Virginia, 60-54
– No. 1 Duke defeated No. 8 San Diego State, 68-49
– No. 7 Wichita State defeated No. 2 Kansas, 78-65
– No. 3 Oklahoma defeated Dayton, 72-66
– No. 2 Gonzaga defeated No. 7 Iowa, 87-68
– No. 1 Wisconsin defeated No. 8 Oregon, 72-65